RED BULL boss Christian Horner claimed after the Turkish Grand Prix that Lewis Hamilton’s tyres were ‘dangerous’ and it was inevitable that he would pit.
Hamilton, 36, suffered a disappointing finish to the Turkish Grand Prix after battling back from fuftheleventh on the grid to finish, way behind championship rival Max Verstappen in second.
Hamilton had qualified on pole, but received a ten-place grid penalty as punishment for his fourth engine change of the season, when drivers are only permitted three.
The seven-time world champion was battling it out with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez for third and made it clear that he wanted to complete the race on the same set of tyres.
Horner, 47, told Sky Sports: “At one point you think he [Hamilton] is going to get to the end and from what we could see, those tyres were looking dangerous so it was inevitable he was going to have to pit.
“At the point that they pitted, that was to our maximum advantage because at that point you could see Charles [Leclerc] as well, the tyres overheated and blistered quite badly and then the pace was lost.
“For us, the crucial moment was for when to pit Checo.
“We could have left him out to keep holding Lewis, [but]we decided to pit him to make sure we had track position because we didn’t believe that those tyres would make it to the end of the race.”
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Red Bull’s strategy proved to be spot on and his two drivers ultimately finished second and third, with Verstappen clinching vital points to put him in the lead in the drivers’ championship by six points.
Hamilton had done incredibly well to manoeuvre his way into fourth but his pace began to slow with ten laps left, and he was reluctantly persuaded by the Mercedes team to pit in lap 51.
The Brit came back out on to the track in fifth, behind Leclerc and Perez, and struggled to get anywhere near them in the final seven laps.
His frustration was evident as he fumed over the team radio: “Why did you give up that place? We shouldn’t have come in. I told you.”
When asked by Sky Sports whether he thought his tyres could have lasted the whole race, Hamilton said: “[Esteban] Ocon’s did, I heard, so I assume they probably could.
“The tyres are bald so you don’t know how far they will go, so there’s definitely a little worry of the life of the tyres.
“But… Brinkwire Brief News.